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Guidance on Greece

First time visiting Greece in August, 2023. I have no idea how to start planning our agenda. I have heard you don't need to spend too much time in Athens, spend most of our time in Mykonos, etc. It's all just overwhelming. Shooting for 9 days in Greece. Need advice on how much time to spend in each area. We prefer luxury hotels so any recommendations on that front.

Sorry for such basic guidance but I need help. Thank you!

Posted by
3260 posts

You are really too late to start putting a trip together by yourself for this August -- which is the HEIGHT of High Season, and especially in perhaps THE most expensive and tourist-packed island of all... Mykonos. However, since you're interested in high-end hotels, there may be a few rooms left... IF You get professional help. My suggestion to you is to email Immediately to three well-known Greece-based travel agencies that have excellent reviews for working online with overseas clients. They are FANTASY TRAVEL, DOLPHIN-HELLAS, and AEGEAN-THESAURUS, A Greece agency is best, because if there is any "gllitch" they are right on the spot to deal with it. They also know MUCH more aboaut a given island's hotels/ activities etc than a travel agent outside of Europe.
Write them all at the same time, telling them exactly when you want to be in Greece, your estimated arrival day and departure day, your preferences if any for specific hotel/room style, and your estimated budget range per night. Then see who answers first, and compare prices and benefits.

This is your best change of putting together a do-oble trip. You simply don't have time to learn what you need to know, from the comments of other travelers on a Forum such as this. We're most useful in helping you "fine-tune" a trip once its roughlly set. However, given the tourism Avalanche of August, there won't be much wiggle-room for last-minute changes. Good Luck!

Posted by
1210 posts

I would say Santorini is a must, but Mykonos isn't unless you are going to party till dawn.

As mentioned, Aug is peak of the peak season. Don't go to Crete, as it's too hot down there. There are plenty of luxury hotels in Santorini--make sure you choose one in Firostafani, Imerovigli, or Oia that has a sea view. You can even have your own pool in some of these hotels. I'd say 3-4 nights is enough in Santorini. Then, head for another island in the Cyclades, such as Paros or Naxos.

You don't even need to stop at Athens at all, other than flying in and out of it. It's bloody boiling there in Aug and it has a severe air pollution problem.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the responses. I feel like I need to spend some time in Athens for the history if I am going to Greece!

Posted by
1440 posts

I highly recommend buying some good guidebooks on Greece for starters. I used Lonely Planet and the Michelin Green Guide to plan our trip. I really believe that reading guidebooks is a more organized and helpful way to plan a trip. I use travel forums and the internet/blogs as secondary information, or for advice on restaurants, and to critique my itinerary AFTER I have read the guidebooks. My philosophy is that if someone can afford to travel to Europe, or anywhere else for that matter, they can afford to buy a guidebook or two. And I don't mean to be insulting when I say this.

I don't know where you heard you don't need to spend too much time in Athens and spend more time in Mykonos. I disagree with this advice. I have not been to Mykonos, but I do know that it has a party reputation. I am sure there are some nice areas on Mykonos, but it does seem to be primarily know for its partying and is very, very expensive.

I think you need a minimum of 4 nights in Athens, which is a very interesting city with so much history. The Acropolis and Parthenon, for starters, along with many other ancient ruins, awesome museums, the Plaka, Changing of the Guard, etc. If you go, be sure to visit the Athens Central Market with its fascinating meat and fish markets.

There are some people who will tell you not to visit Santorini because it's crowded, expensive and touristy. While it's all of that, it is also beautiful and unique with the villages overlooking the caldera, and with its white-washed buildings with blue dome roofs. Will you be willing to rent a car? We rented a car for a day while on Santorini and visited other parts of the island, such as the Akrotiri archaeological site, Akrotiri lighthouse, red sand beach, and black sand beach. It was one of our favorite days.

Another wonderful island is Naxos, which is quieter and more laidback than Santorini. We enjoyed staying at the edge of Agios Georgios Beach, within walking distance of Naxos Town. We rented a car for a day and visited several fishing villages and several mountain villages. Another awesome day!

How many nights do you have?

A possible itinerary could be Athens for 4 nights and Naxos or Santorini for 4 nights. Or you could consider Paros and Antiparos. I haven't been there but have read enough and seen enough photos that I am sure they would be awesome choices as well.

Or, if you don't want to visit an island, you could visit Nafplio on the Peloponnese Peninsula for 4 or 5 nights. Nafplio is a beautiful town located on the water and filled with bougainvillea. It's a lovely town to explore with a castle. And from Nafplio, you can visit such wonderful ancient ruins as Mystras, Epidaurus, Myceanae and many more.

Posted by
1440 posts

Do you have to go in August? September would be a better time regarding weather and heat, as the other posters mention.

Posted by
10345 posts

Make sure to give Athens several days. We didn’t
see any partying on Mykonos in the last half of September, just families with babies, Greeks and British visitors.

Posted by
7209 posts

I don't know who told you that you don't need much time in Athens, but I think you need at least 3 days.

The New Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis will take up most of the day. You can easily spend three hours just in the Museum.
Other ancient sites around the city and Agora will take up most of a day, as well as the Archaeological Museum.

The Temple of Sounion is south east of the city.
Delphi is a day trip, as are Corinth and the Corinth Canal.
Also, the three island cruise from Piraeus.

Posted by
1114 posts

Every time I go to Greece I spend 2-3 days in Athens.

There's more to the city than just the tourist sites.

Here's a great website for Athens and you'll be overwhelmed with what to see, do and experience:

Why did you pick Mykonos?

There are a number of lovely islands to select that don't get the hype, crowds and are less expensive than Mykonos.

I would split 9 days with 3 in Athens and 6 on an island. It's up to you to decide what island offers what you are looking for in a Greek island.

Posted by
3260 posts

Tommy, you wonder why he picked Mykonos. I believe that his main source of knowledge is not research but instead, that reliable info resource, "I have heard"... Basic guidance is right there, in Guidebooks, but he's starting late. I hope he contacts a travel agent.

Posted by
3 posts

I am so happy Janet takes some latitude with my “i have heard” statement. I am confident I never stated it was a reliable source of information but thank you for filling in the blanks. If I truly trusted what I have heard, I would not be reaching out for guidance from this forum. Thank you everyone for the supportive posts. I am well on my way to finalizing an amazing trip!

Posted by
30 posts

I just spent 9 days in Athens as a first time ever trip to Greece. My experience tells me that it makes a great first and necessary stop. Even in 9 days, it was hard to absorb all the history and get an in-depth sense of the cross-cultural influences , busy, edgy, 'hippy-vibe', hospitable and friendly megalopolis. I'm now ready to branch out to the islands and Peloponnese, but it will have to wait for another trip. I would not want to have missed the hike up to the Parthenon and the stroll in the Ancient Agora or the wonder of the Acropolis Museum if I had left out Athens from a trip to Greece itinerary. You would be cutting out the heart, in my view. August will be very hot, however. Late April was already very warm at the top of the Acropolis, but early evenings were delicious.